It’s finally happened, the President of the United States has faced the fact that the patriotic thing to do is wear a mask. He has also canceled his showtime Republican convention in Jacksonville and why?… because he knows that the virus is going to defeat his reelection.
The grim reality is, much of the Coronavirus could have been avoided if we had a leader who understood what scientists were telling us. Instead, Trump politicized the agenda, set up a battle between Americans, that you are either an enemy or friend of this freedom loving Nation. I cannot believe that most Americans think Donald Trump is emblematic of who we are as a Nation.
I feel in my bones that the power is going to shift. But just because somebody else gets the keys to the car doesn’t mean they know how to drive it. In this new world all the old boundaries are being shattered; revolutionary technology, crippling economic disparities, political extremism, climate change, and now add this brutal pandemic.
Every aspect of our economic and physical survival however is not dependent only on a power shift, it must be accompanied by a mind shift. A mind shift to a world in which human beings can distinguish between what’s real and what’s fake; where right and wrong are not determined by what you can get away with; where we can find some common ground. A mind shift to what’s possible in the pursuit of our shared humanity. Is this just the stuff of dreams? is it possible to come together and bridge our differences rather than be consumed by them?
Reading the morning paper several days ago and seeing the streets of Portland burning, I thought it unlikely, until I came upon an editorial in the same edition that made me think what I dare imagine is possible. The Confederate Troops Memorial in front of the State Capital was recently moved because it had become such a polarizing symbol of the division in our Nation. The entire Editorial staff opined that the City of Phoenix to consider a new memorial.
A monument to honor Annie Wauneka, a Native American woman who changed the health of the Navajo Nation. Raised in a traditional family, she saw the devastation caused by high infant mortality rates, infectious diseases from tuberculosis to influenza, and made her life’s work spreading public health. She was able to integrate traditional and Western medicine, could tell the ancient legends in a way her people understood how they were being invaded by monsters they could not see, and that Western doctors had things that could make them well.
Annie Wauneka was Tribal councilwoman, a revered political activist, declared an Arizona Legend, and given the Nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon Johnson. I was blessed to know her as friend and mentor, she was a boundary crosser, one of those rare individuals who could stand between cultures and bridge their differences.
I’m thinking, a memorial to a Native American woman who brought communities together to heal…what a splendid idea at this extraordinary time, restored my faith in mind shift happening.